17. Grandchildren and hope

Ted Grimsrud—Purpose vol. 45, no. 1 (January 2012), p. 28.

When our grandson Elias entered our lives in June, 2006, we could feel the stakes increase immediately. Lots of things mattered more than ever before. This is even more the case since his little sister, Marja, joined him in March, 2010.

I have to be honest and say I simply can’t imagine what their lives will be like when they reach my age. The trends in the wider world certainly are not encouraging.

Yet, how can I be around these two oh-so-beautiful children, so full of life and curiosity and, yes, joy, and not be hopeful? When I see Elias, in many ways as energetic and healthily self-absorbed a pre-schooler as I have even been around, show such patience and kindness toward his little sister, I imagine anything is possible.

Folksinger Jim Page, in his song “Whose World is This?” raises some of the most profound of questions: “What kind of world will our children receive, after all is said and done? What kind of creed have we come to believe that they may never receive one? What kind of world will our children receive, after all is said and done? What kind of creed must we come to believe if they are to receive one?”

Obviously, the “creed” we must believe—and practice—is the one Jesus insisted summarized the law and prophets: love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself.”

As I said, the big picture is not encouraging. As we hurtle down the path of environmental devastation, big media and big politics (funded by those who profit from the devastation) act as if we can keep exploiting the earth forever (“drill, baby, drill!”). The U.S. wins the Cold War—and embarks on a two-decade long expansion of our military to the point now where we spend more on weapons of war than the rest of the world combined.

But the “little picture” seems extraordinarily hopeful. Elias and Marja witness to the power of love in ways that melt my heart, over and over.

I confess that I am unable to hold the big and little pictures together. But somehow, it seems we must find a way. We dare not despair—Elias and Marja forbid that. But we dare not act like all is well—the screaming of the earth forbids that.

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